Every time I meet new people, I am surprised how much others appreciate what I do – Sashiko. Some respect us for the Sashiko technique we have. The other thank us for sharing the Sashiko we practice. I am sincerely flattered with these comments. Thank you very much. However, at the same time, I feel I am just a man who happens to be good at Sashiko.
Once a curse, now a privilege
I am privileged to be able to Sashiko stitching because of the family I was born in. To be honest, though, I had thought of this privilege as the curse for a long time. It wasn’t the best family (in fact, it was kind of tragic family like in a novel), and I would dare not to do the same to my child. It was difficult. I still am in suffering for that matter (in recovery, I hope).
However, as a result, I am good at it. At least, I am good enough to teach and impress others. I (somewhat – because my wife is the main one to support our family) support myself by doing Sashiko. So, I am thankful for those days.
You may realize. There are many other great Sashiko artisans besides me. Keiko is a great artist, but there are many others who are very skilled in Sashiko stitching. What we are special in Sashiko is that “we were surrounded by Sashiko and kept looking at them every single day”. Sashiko stitching is as natural as natural languages. Sashiko stitches can tell us the story, and we try to tell our stories to the others by our stitching.
Being good at Sashiko
Sashiko is a simple form of hand stitching to appreciate the fabric. We have many techniques to make Sashiko stitching beautiful. However, what I would like to share is more than the technique. By sharing the technique throughout the workshops (In-person & Online), I would like to pass down the mindset the Japanese Sashiko stitchers would have had many years ago.
In short, I don’t want to be full of myself only because I am good at Sashiko (I don’t want to see myself being “cocky”). Because of the worldwide popularity in Sashiko, many people find us someone special. I am perfectly fine with someone defining us in their own way. We are happy when someone gave us the title. You, the reader of this article, also have your own image to us, I believe. How do you define us?
- (Fine/Folk) Artist?
- (Slow) Fashion Designer?
- Masters in Sashiko?
- Teachers of Sashiko?
- Ecologist / Activist?
One day, I may be several of these above. However, we neither have the skill to be a fashion designer nor the knowledge to be the activist. So, again, I feel we are a group of “mother and son” who happen to be able to make great Sashiko stitching. Therefore, we offer only a few kinds of the workshop to share the “core” of Sashiko. We don’t have enough skill to expand the workshops.
Before being any kinds of a master like above, the first path I (Atsushi) would like to walk forward is the “storyteller” with Sashiko and other Japanese interesting mindsets. I believe we as the Japanese have many concepts in which we do not well verbalize in other languages (for that matter, even in Japanese). I would like to pursue the journey to share how beautiful (Love & Hate) culture from the Japanese people.
So, please share your questions about Sashiko & related stories. I am happy to make a research on.
*For the technical questions about Sashiko, please consider taking the workshop (in person / online). I am happy to answer & follow-up any kinds of questions there. I wish I could do it to everyone. However, I found myself so exhausted in answering the random questions. I would like to support the one who also supports me. I really appreciate your understanding. After all, we are a group of 2, mother and son, so we have very limited capacity. On Youtube, I provide a lot of technical tutorials too. You may search for the videos you would like there before joining the full-supported workshops.
Instagram Post that generates this post
Here is my writing when I had “Aha-moment” after suffering from trying to be “someone” who the other expect me to be. Again, I am merely a man who is good at
Sashiko. I may be someone in the future, but for now, I am pretty happy with what I am capable of.
I just had “Aha-Moment” so I wanted to share.
Sometimes people tell me “I do not understand you…I feel you are different” after many conversations & good communication. I believe I am pretty consistent with what I do. So, when these unfortunate events happen, I tell myself that the people’s perception can change and we just have a different path now. However, of course, I reflect myself if I did something wrong.
I blamed myself when they happened. This morning, I just had a moment of Ah-Hah. To explain, here are questions for you. “What is your standing point when you look at Sashiko?” and “What do you expect me to share?”
Are you an Artist? Hand-Craft Artisan? Designer? Fashion Leader? Slow-Life activist? Ecologist? Minimalist? Do you want me to tell stories about Zen? Mindfulness? Stitching Technique? Boro? Japanese Culture?
I am merely a man who happened to be good at the Sashiko because of the environment (once a curse, now privilege). Please do not expect me to be someone you want me to be. I am learning how to look at the Sashiko from all of the standing points you may have. In short, I am not an artist or designer (yet). If you see me the “artist”, of course, you would feel different the more we spend the time together.
I would like to be the one who can advocate the beauty of “caring” days with energy from hands. I have a lot more to share, but that is the unfortunate misunderstanding of who I am and what people expect me to be. I enjoy the design of Sashiko, but I do not intend to do something with the design. I would like to pass down the beautiful mindset of Japanese throughout Sashiko, kind of a Sashiko evangelist (with no Christianity concept). I strongly believe we can make our life a bit better by “focusing on what hands can do”.
It is my goal to share the information from all the standing points you may have. Yes, I would love to be the fashion activist with Sashiko mindset, yet I have no skill or knowledge about it. I understand what I am saying is very “idealistic” in this society. Therefore, I think the careful explanation would be good to keep sharing.